The News for June 15th, 2018

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Ford keeps the GT350 alive with chassis tuning and more downforce

  • Aston Martin unveils new AMR-tuned Rapide in all its NA V12 glory

  • AM Vantage GT3 and GT4 make their debut, will compete next season

  • Japanese road test of ’19 Mazda MX-5 leaks power increase, other new features

  • What’s your automotive news?

2019 Mustang Shelby GT350

While most Mustang fans have their attention turned to the new GT500 that’s due out soon, Ford Performance was also at work bringing some enhancements to the apex hunter that is the GT350. A lot of the changes are beneath the skin and seek to build upon the current car’s strengths on the track to make it just a bit better. There’s no power increase or face lift, just more grip and a blessing from someone who knows a thing or two about racing a Mustang.
The 2019 GT350 gets some extra mechanical grip thanks to a new GT350-specific tire from Michelin – a revised set of Pilot Sport Cup 2s with a new tread pattern and a different compound sized at 295/35 front and 305/35 rear. Those tires are wrapped around new 19″ aluminum wheels (the GT 350R has carbonfiber wheels -KK).

At the other end of the grip spectrum, Ford has also given it some additional downforce in the form of a new rear spoiler with an optional Gurney Flap. That plus a more optimized grille closeout was engineered from lessons learned in the wind tunnel after testing their GT4 racecar and the upcoming GT500.

To take full advantage of the added downforce and grip, Ford Performance enlisted the expertise of Billy Johnson, a factory driver who races the GT350 in IMSA’s GT4 series and is about to drive the Ford GT at that big race in France this weekend.  He helped them recalibrate the standard MagneRide active suspension, the three-mode stability control, and the ABS to take full advantage of the improvements.

Even though the GT350 doesn’t take on the styling updates of the other 2019 models, it does gain some of the new features like the 12-speaker B&O Play audio system by Harman and some new Sync 3 functionality. Two new paint colors are offered, those being Velocity Blue (also borrowed from the other 2019 Mustangs) and Ford Performance Blue, the latter of which is a color Ford doesn’t typically sell.
And of course, the epic 5.2-liter V8 is untouched and produces 526 horsepower with a 8,250 RPM redline. A six-speed Tremec manual gearbox remains the correct option.
The 2019 GT350 goes on sale early 2019.
[Source: Ford]

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

As Aston Martin Racing prepares to defend their 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans title with the all-new Vantage GTE this weekend, they’ve unveiled the latest car to receive the AMR treatment. The DB11 AMR that was just shown a few weeks ago got power and chassis refinements to increase #dynamism and the story is pretty much the same for the new Rapide AMR.
Aston’s only four-door (until the inevitable Aston SUV comes along) was first teased in AMR trim at last year at the Geneva Motor Show and the styling is surprisingly similar. It has a large and aggressive front grille to mimic the track-only Vantage AMR Pro, a new carbon hood, and a host of new downforce-enhancing add-ons all in carbon fiber.
The naturally-aspirated V12 in this car is one of the last of Aston’s design and borrows heavily from the last-generation Vantage GT12. Through larger inlet manifolds with tuned length dual inlet runners to enhance the airflow into the 6.0-liter V12 and the necessary engine calibration, power is up to a healthy 580 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. With the new AMR quad-exhaust system, it laughs at cars who’ve suffered from down-sizing engines.

Helping to put power to the ground effectively is a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports wrapped in 21″ forged wheels which are extra stiff and even have a multi-spoke design to aid in brake cooling. It boasts massive 15.7″ front and 14.1″ rear carbon ceramic brakes, a first for the Rapide.
As with the other AMR models, you can opt for the AMR Lime accents or go for a more subdued exterior finish. The interior updates are as expected – carbon fiber dashboard trim, Alcantara inserts, special stitching, and a One-77-style steering wheel.
The first deliveries start in Q4 2018.
[Source: Aston Martin]

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and GT4

Good news to all you Hooniverse readers with a sports car racing team – Aston Martin has finally unveiled the new Vantage GT3 and GT4-spec race cars that will soon be available to customer racing teams! Both cars are based on the new Vantage GTE that will be fighting for glory in the GTE Pro category at Le Mans this weekend and use the same engine, but one just looks a bit more like the road car than the other.
Technical highlights include a dry weight of 2,745 pounds, up to 535 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque (before BoP) from a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that’s lifted from the road car and beefed up by AMR, and an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox. Another thing based off the road car is its aluminum chassis, but the similarities end when adding the steel roll-cage, Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers, and Alcon brakes with Bosch Motorsport ABS.

The GT3 car benefits from a similar aero package as found in the GTE car while the GT4 car really just has an added rear spoiler on top of factory-stock bodywork. The cars are about the same mechanically but take two very different approaches to making grip – one has all the aero, the other is all mechanical grip.
The old Vantage is still running in various sports car races around the world and is still capturing wins, so these new cars will have a lot to live up to. Both cars will become homologated for competition from March 1st, 2019 and the cars will remain in development until then.
I’m just glad to finally see the new Vantage race car in a color that isn’t Shrek-in-the-Swamp Green.
[Source: Aston Martin]

2019 Mazda MX-5’s Rumored Updates

One of the big stories of the week comes to us from Japan’s Car Watch who may have leaked some info on the updates Mazda made to the MX-5 for the 2019 model year. They published a drive review and raved about a few things that, as of now, aren’t officially on any new Miata.
They claim the 2.0-liter four-cylinder now produces 181 horsepower and revs out to 7,500 RPM thanks to small but numerous engine tweaks such as lighter pistons, increased valve spring rate, and larger throttle bodies. It also has a new low-inertia flywheel and a new muffler, allegedly. One of the other big updates that taller drivers will surely appreciate is a telescoping steering wheel – finally.
If you want to fire up the translator and read more about it, head on over to Car Watch. Take some grains of salt with you.
[Source: Car Watch via Autoweek]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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26 responses to “The News for June 15th, 2018”

  1. nanoop Avatar

    Not leading LeMans, Aston Martin surely is a top player when it’s about exploiting the participation for marketing.
    I just replaced the input hose to the 944 power steering, seems tight for now. For expelling the air you’re supposed to turn the steering side-to-side with engine running. I did it on jack stands, and the noise is frightening. Under load, everything is quiet.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Proof: there is something like a “Aston Martin Racing Le Mans” race in the pre-programme, and Chris Harris won.

  2. Smaglik Avatar

    I’m taking a break on automotive stuff to build a woodshed in my backyard. It’s the first time I’ve ever really built anything, so it’s quite a learning experience. I’ve had a wood burning stove in the house for 2 seasons now, and shoveling snow off of tarps to access the wood pile really, well, blows.
    It’s not unlike working on new tasks on the car. I’ll probably end up with a few new tools, and some extra pieces that may not fit anywhere…

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I’m jumping on the offtopic wagon right away. What concept did you go for? Walls? We warm our house almost exclusively with firewood, and we. sort of, have a two tier setup. It dries in the following spot first, and then there is an entire room in the basement for it. I’ve been thinking to demolish the “bunker” the wood shed is leaning onto, and build something else with open walls maybe, but that’s a lot of work for not a lot of change.

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      1. Smaglik Avatar

        It’s going to be 6’x16′ with two 8′ bays. Roof height will be 6′ in the middle, so the hope is that I can get 4 cords in there, which is enough for a winter. Here is a rough cross section of what I’m building.

      2. Smaglik Avatar

        Here’s where it’s going. Four cords is enough for a winter. Last winter was bush league here, so I have plenty left over, and haven’t even gone out to the forest yet to get more this year. Everything out there will be seasoned for next year. In AZ, it seasons pretty quick.
        I’ll likely build another bay towards the fence in the background. Then I’d have storage for 6 cords, which is perfect.
        I have a perfectly functioning gas furnace, but it rarely comes on, as I prefer the heat from the stove.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Looking good! I had to google how much a cord is…4 cords is quite a lot og firewood! Not sure how much we use from september to may, our firing season, but I’d say it isn’t that much more.

          2. Smaglik Avatar

            Interesting. What measure of volume then do you use to brag about this size of your woodpile?

          3. Sjalabais Avatar

            We use “favn”. Conveniently, since almost nobody has a vivid understanding of this volume, you’ll get respectful nods no matter what number you’d insert. Day-to-day liters used to be a thing. Over the last couple of years, shops have started selling wood by weight, which provides all the wrong incentives.

          4. nanoop Avatar

            Well for bragging you’d refer to the neighbor’s pile as base unit, fy favn.
            Seriously, I always thought that a Norwegian favn is a German Klafter is an English cord?

          5. 1slowvw Avatar

            Up in eastern Canada it takes about 4.5 cord to heat my bungalow from fall to spring( spring including last week where we were down to freezing mark).
            I store it all in a dedicated wood room in the basement but if I ever build a house it will have a dedicated carport style outdoor space for the wood.
            Also I find the “cord” an odd measurement…I will have to look up how many liters I would burn.

          6. Smaglik Avatar

            No basement. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want to lug it all down there just to bring it up. But, if it works, and it’s dry, it’s better than tarps.

          7. Smaglik Avatar

            We have the ‘Flagstaff Cord,’ which is when someone sells you a cord, delivers less than a cord, and then tries to convince you that it’s good enough, in hopes that you’re too polite to call them on it. Sounds eerily similar.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    Today I woke up from a desk nap totally stressed out that I didn’t check the coolant level on my orange SAAB. Seeing that I don’t own an orange SAAB, it might be time to do something about that. This fall my son starts in school, and maybe next summer we’ll get rid of one car and replace it with a classic since we don’t need to drive the kids to two different institutions anymore. So I have been thinking about a Vauxhall Cresta PA or a late Humber Super Snipe. A lot of these British classics are relatively attainable. Much is attributable to the dismal reputation some of them have, some may also have issues getting the right parts. How bad is owning a British classic, really?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      The condition of the body should be of prime consideration, no deep-seated rust. Mechanically they are pretty simple but getting the key components like distributors and carbs rebuilt properly will give a good basis for reliability and other things like cooling system depending on the history/usage of the car.
      Here’s a photo of mine from last weekend.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        The front of a Hillman Imp about to lose the suspension and external panels

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Haha, most excellent advice!

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            Another point is try to get a drive of a good similar car, no point doing all the work if you don’t like the finished product

          2. nanoop Avatar

            Unless you fell in love already with the crappy example you bought on the spot…

    2. nanoop Avatar

      The common verdict in decades of buyer’s advice in “Oldtimer Praxis” is that the engines are solid, the electrics are wonky but simple, and metal is rusty. Higher level cars add complexity, chrome, and wood.
      You’ll get help from the mandatory British club, why certainly.
      Do it. It doesn’t have to be pristine, or a technology marvel (nor your only option of transportation). Any bread-and-butter car will do, I’d go for something that seats all of the family.
      Even if you repair it to death, slowly, over years, you will have fun, satisfaction, joy, and encounter people.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Well said, and pretty much what I’m looking for. My experience in classics is limited to Volvos, and I realize that prices for nice GAZ are going up real hard. So I’ll be looking into this corner for a while.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Just find a car that doesn’t need most what you can’t do yourself yet.
          You will need to drive it a little, every now and then, to build the relationship and to keep the motivation later in the process.

    3. Manxman Avatar

      I’ve owned several British post-WWII cars and they can be fun, entertaining and frustrating all at the same time. For example, an MG-B should have been a clean-sheet design in 1962 but like many “new” cars in England it is archaic in so many ways: lever shock absorbers, kingpins and bushings instead of ball-joints, two 6 volt batteries in series behind the seats. But easy to work on. To me, body rust is the real problem, especially hidden rust. My experience has luckily been with Texas cars so rust wasn’t a huge problem. It’s satisfying to be able to set points and timing, gap plugs, lube the numerous suspension bits. If the British had perfected rust-proofing they would have ruled the world and there would be a Triumph Dolomite in every garage.

  4. Scoutdude Avatar

    I’m thinking about a newer car. I’ve had good luck with my Ford Hybrids and I really like the 3rd generation system in our C-Max so I’ve been looking at MKZ Hybrids. Found one that looked great on the dealer’s website and had a clean carfax. Unfortunately go there and my daughter sitting in the back seat quickly noticed the PPG glass in the rear door. Started looking it over closer and sure enough it had been hit back there and the bumper cover paint already had a couple of chips where it meets the body. A quick scan with ForScan also showed codes in a number of modules. So the search continues. Probably going to go drive another tomorrow.